LETTER: Persons should not be given jobs based on political affiliation, but on merit

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There is a dangerous phenomenon raising its ugly head once again… the reemergence of the kind of behavior by some members of the PNC that gave that Party the reputation of being the most-feared, most brutal and most racist many years ago.

At a recent PNC political rally, senior Cabinet Minister and party official, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, remarked that the APNU will target Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) supporters and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) that sabotage Government. Harmon was quoted as saying, “The foolishness got to stop! No NDC, because it’s controlled by the PPP, will take Government money and just spend it on PPP areas… It’s got to stop, and we are going to work and fix that.”

But this is not so! Seeking to blame the PPP for government’s incompetence: hiring party hacks to critical positions in government such as REOs, and the non-delivery of services, Harmon should admit that it is their anti-poor and anti-private sector policies causing the loss of jobs, that is bringing down the country. Not the PPP!

Then last Sunday, at the PNCR Region Four District Conference, recently elected Chairwoman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and controversial Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, made the most outrageous racist remark. She said, “The only friends I got is PNC so the only people I gon give wuk to is PNC and right now I looking for a doctor who can talk Spanish or Portuguese and ah want one that is PNC.”

Coming from a minister of government, I regard this to be a blatant admission of discrimination and nepotism for which she should be asked to resign.

The Prevention of Discrimination Act prohibits the elimination of discrimination in employment. Our labour laws are clear: She cannot discriminate against people on the basis of political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, race, or their religion.

Editor, you may recall a widely publicized video on facebook that captured a violent crowd of PNC thugs led by Minister Lawrence during a peaceful PPP vigil outside the Cheddi Jagan Research Center -The Red House. And in that video, the vulgarity of Lawrence was on display as she threw objects at PPP activist, Jason Abdulla, before slapping him in the face. Yet she was never arrested for assaulting the PPP official.

And on November 7, I too was was assaulted with a chain by another PNC thug, Carol Smith-Joseph in the presence of a senior police officer attached to the Fort Wellington Police Station. And like Lawrence, she was never arrested nor charged for this premeditated attack on my person, at least, not yet.

In Region 5, another PNC thug, REO Ovid Morrison was taken to court after he evicted cash-crop farmers from farm lands they owned for the past 16 years. Then when he caught one of the farmers, PPP activist Krishna Sewlall on his land, he choked him and chased him off his own farm.

Editor, these isolated acts of violence and bullyism by some members of the People’s National Congress (PNC) are likely to escalate with these irresponsible, caustic, and incendiary rhetoric being spewed by senior functionaries of this government. And it must stop before it embolden others into violence and civil unrest.

I don’t expect the AFC to condemn the remarks made by Harmon and Lawrence because they’re part of it, fighting for their own survival.

But I do call upon the Ethnic Relations Committee to immediately launch an investigation into Minister Volda Lawrence’s racial remarks as this is not only illegal, but it cannot be good for race relations in Guyana.

The PPP is a multi-racial Party illustrated by the list of candidates we fielded in the recently concluded Local Government Elections. We have an open-door policy for everyone. So no attempt to discriminate and divide our people will succeed. Like the saying goes, “dis time na like lang time.”

But inspire these acts of thuggery by some PNC leaders and their small cabal of thugs, I am confident that most of the PNC/APNU supporters must now see the true nature of the beast, and are disgusted by the racist behaviour of some placed in leadership positions. They will have no part of it.

The International Community and the United Nations (UNDP) Country Representative in Guyana must also take note and condemn Minister Lawrence for describing people as “looking like Jagdeo” in an attempt to avoid saying Indian or Indo-Guyanese. And I call upon President Granger to take control of his ministers in the interest of social cohesion and good race relations, even if he has to gag them from time to time.

HARRY GILL

PPP/C Member of Parliament  

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